DNC: Winning Over Independents and Republicans

| 8/26/2008 12:35:33 PM

Amid calls for Obama to go for the jugular and burn down Republicans’ houses, it’s worth remembering that this candidate’s insurgent appeal during the primaries was driven in no small part by his ability to lure Independents and Republicans. Former U.S. Representative Jim Leach—a Republican from Iowa—brought that home last night in an eloquent, if a bit dryly delivered, speech teasing out the good values of both parties and tracing where his own had gone astray: 

The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values. The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that did not attack us. The party that formerly led the world in arms control has moved to undercut treaties crucial to the defense of the earth. The party that prides itself on conservation has abdicated its responsibilities in the face of global warming. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and an unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts.

I’ve not heard a more elegant, succinct autopsy of today’s Republican Party.

Tonight is Hillary’s night, all the headlines tell us so. But after that, Democrats should start focusing again on winning over Independents and Republicans, not Hillary supporters.

Watch Leach’s speech:

For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Democratic National Convention, click here.

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